Swiss tradition, 15.01.2020

Alt Silvester in spring-like weather

Alt Silvester (Old New Year's Eve) is the last vestige of the resistance to the Gregorian calendar reform, which took place in the 16th century. It is celebrated in particular in the Urnäsch and Waldstatt communities in Appenzell Ausserrhoden on January 13. (The Gregorian calendar, a correction of the calendar that was introduced by Pope Gregory in 1582, (currently) starts the year 13 days earlier than the previously used Julian calendar. Many people protested at the time because they thought they were losing 11 days of their life! There was also opposition in Protestant countries, who considered the change as interference by the pope in Rome).

The Chlausenschuppel (masked performers with musical accompaniment) are on the move there early in the morning to visit the local farms and sing the residents a Zäuerli (yodel duet) and wish them a Happy New Year.